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Experience of my lumbar discectomy - sharing and a few questions

RaraavisRRaraavis Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had my lumbar discectomy for L5-S1 disc On 27th April 2011, 5-6 days back. I live in uk and had thought I M lucky to get my surgery in a private hospital as an NHS Patient.
A little background: In nov 2009 after my baby's delivery thru csection where they gave me epidural before induction seems to have caused it as I think as I started having this middle back pain right after I came home from hospital. For 6 months my GP kept saying it's a common back pain and will go away. After a year I went to my home country where I was diagnosed with a herniated disc through an MRI. I started having numbness and tingling feeling in my right leg and big toe during his time. I came back to uk and in next 4-5 months my symptoms started getting worse. Numbness and electric shock or needles like feeling could be felt in left leg and heals were weak too. Difficulty standing or sitting without support. Later on numbness in genital area pccasionally was felt. It was not terrible though

Before surgery: GP referred me to an NHS hospital and neuro seeing the 6 months old MRI said u don't need any surgery. Didn't get ready to have latest MRI to see my changing situation. I moved to different flat so GP changed. New GP referred to a private hospital and orthopaedic surgeon there latest MRI which showed a bigger bulge and suggested surgery to avoid cauda equina. Gave me a week time to decide. Didnt tell me any detail about surgery. we decided to go for surgery

Kept waiting for details and hoped I would be told a little more but I was only told that lumbar discectomy is the name and an inch cut would be made. Nothin more. Went for my surgery hoped my surgeon would tell me the procedure and answer my questions. He came for 30 sec. Got consent signed and didn't care listening to me. Got operated. Waited for doctor to tell me the details but alas he was never ready to stand for a min.

Rest of the story I will share after some time.


  • As surgeon has scooped out all of my disc material, nucleus pulpous, I have searched this is perhaps subtotal discectomy. What are my chances I will stay rest of my life pain free or without any need for another surgery.

    I am 33, a female and have an active toddler of 17 months to look after and raise. I don't think I can have another child with my situation but i want to live without further health issues.

    does anyone have the same sort of surgery and how you are feeling now? Is sciatica at this stage is normal or anything of concern? Why I am having this Hamstring pulling which I never had before?

    How long should I walk? Am I walking too much at this stage? When should I start walking and when does scar tissue forms?

    Pls if Anyone had same type of surgery please do share your recovery phases with me? Do you think without this jelly material my disc can survive? What can I do to save myself to see my baby grow?
  • You can skip reading my story and please answer a few questions i asked in my third post.

    When I woke up from anaesthesia (2hrs later), my procedure was done and my right leg was very heavy, I immediately did basic stretching feet exercises to bring some movement in the legs. They gave me morphine switch to press the button every 5 mins. I was taken back to my room. I didn't feel any sciatica after a few moments and my back was sore.

    Wrong pain killer with no guidance:
    Took morphine every 5 mins as they said and back pain was gone. After 3-4 hrs when I asked again they said, morphine should only be taken when required and by that time it was too late and I was overdosed, which did terrible to me as I kept vomiting for next two days and has serious breathlessness issues on first night. Nurses didnt take it seriously and I had to go through this trauma for the whole night and couldn't even sleep. They had to put catheter in for urine during the night.

    I was instructed to call a nurse if I need to roll over or drink anything, I couldn't get up. Next day physio came who told me how to roll over on my own. Pain killer I insisted for paracetamol which helped in my case. She made me walk around the room once and then I could at least change my position in bed. Back pain due to surgery was bearable. Occasional sciatic waves in right big toe and foot and serious hamstring puling and right leg heavy again.
    At night doctor came and broke this news that instead of traditional microdiscectomy, he has romped all of my disc material from inside out and I have only three Walls left. He also cut my lamina. That was a huge shock and not expected. I was in despair.

    I was wondering how I would survive on three walls only and why the he'll surgeon never gave me any chance to discuss it inspire or my request. I feared for having chronic back pain or fusion anytime sooner.
    Physio got me up on my feets, told exercises and now I could walk on my own. I felt like human again. Walked around the ward. Watched royal wedding and my mood lifted. Sciatica slight waves, pulled hamstring.... Back sore but pain bearable....

    Day 3:
    Surgeon visited early morning and I expressed my concerns, he wasn't keen to answer in detail, only said fusion is not indicated for your age and with all material scooped out I will have no reherniation. He said u are 33 so will heal soon. No time estimate of recovery and will be seeing me in a month

    I did my stairs with Physio, catheter removed and then was discharged with paracetamol tablets

    Sciatica slight in right leg, leg heavy.....
    At home, I did walking ....3-4 times slow walk 1-2 mile in total around the house. No bending twisting, sat on chair for 5-10 mins at a time for 2-3 times during meal times
    Sciatica in right leg started and hamstring was pulled badly. Did exercises, feared for formation of scar tissue.

    Increased my walks to 3-4 mile in total which I completed 4-5 times thinking that scar tissue might be forming and causing sciatica. But sciatica increased with sudden electric shocks and so was hamstring.
    Rested most of the day and walked short distance around the house and did max a mile on that day. Stopped sitting at all.... Sciatica very slight, hamstring puling disappeared

    Increased my walk to 2-3 mile per day, no sitting, have sciatica and numbness in right toe and slight hamstring. Back pain getting better.
    Day 7:
    Your answers may help plan my routine tomorrow.
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